Music, an indispensable friend to stimulate young children

Research shows that music contributes to children’s development in multiple ways, strengthening their cognitive and motor skills and social competencies. Jonathan Bolduc, Professor with the Faculty of Music of Université Laval and Canada Research Chairholder in Music and Learning, explains the importance of music in young children’s lives.

What is the ideal age to expose children to music?

In terms of musical development, research has shown that early childhood is the best time to expose children to a musical environment. That’s why Mazaam was developed for preschool children, 4 to 6 years old.

How does music contribute to children’s development?

In general, the effects of music on young children can be observed quickly. It seems to favour the development of executive functions, such as selective attention, cognitive flexibility, planning and organizational skills. These functions, in turn, can stimulate aptitudes essential to other learning in elementary school, such as reading, writing and mathematics. Music would be a catalyst, to some extent. The more children play music, the more their musical knowledge can influence other spheres of their development, and these effects would be observed throughout their lives. Music therefore clearly has a positive influence. Research has also shown that the cognitive skills of individuals who played music before they are 12 years old are more developed in adulthood, even if they stopped practicing a long time ago.

Are the benefits of music different depending on whether the child plays it or listens to it?

Yes, and the research is fairly unanimous. It shows that playing music offers even more benefits than simply being exposed to a musical environment. The ideal age to learn a musical instrument is around 5 of 6. Since Mazaam is intended for young children, it enters their lives before or during introduction to an instrument. It supports children’s preschool education by exposing them to varied musical excerpts.

How does the Mazaam app contribute to support the child’s development?

The app offers activities adapted to children 4, 5 or 6 years old in five categories: pitch, tempo, intensity, timbre and harmony. By developing their musical knowledge, children acquire several strategies that later will support every sphere of their cognitive development.

Why integrate a component that leads parents to participate in Mazaam’s activities?

A tablet mustn’t replace the parent – quite the contrary! With Mazaam, the parent is integrated into the child’s learning and interacts with the child. The game was designed with the goal of introducing children and their parents to classical music. It relies on many excerpts that can be found in their full version in the catalogue published by Analekta – the record company specializing in classical music that created Mazaam. Progress can be consolidated by learning the source of the piece the child just heard and who composed it. So Mazaam benefits the entire family!

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